Coban Porter, brother of Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., has changed his not guilty plea to guilty to vehicular homicide and vehicular assault for the drunken accident that killed Katharina Rothman, a mother to a then four-year-old while working for Uber on Jan. 22, 2023. He also pleaded guilty to unlawfully operating a vehicle, injuring Rothman’s passenger, in the same crash.
The night of the accident, Porter was bailed out on a $2,000 surety bond paid for by his brother. Elected DA Beth McCann told reporters in a scrum in September that her office requested a $50,000 bond for Porter but was denied. Magistrate Michelle Kline made that decision, per court documents.
Porter, 22, was crying at the stand beside his attorney Harvey Steinberg. His significant other, mother and two friends did so in the back row, too.
Porter must report to the probation office by the end of Friday. Sentencing is scheduled with a pre-sentencing report for April 19 at 8:30 AM. He faces the possibility of up to eight years in prison, per the DA’s communications office.
Eight members of Rothman’s family and Mothers Against Drunk Driving representative Jocelyn Rhymer were in attendance for Porter’s plea change. MADD is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the strictest possible sentence.
Rothman’s grandmother, Mary, was one of the family members present. She wore a black shirt with Rothman’s face on it that said, “Rest in peace, my amazing granddaughter Katharina – May 1980 – Jan. 2023.”
When leaving the courthouse, Johnson said, “I’m really happy with the outcome. But it still doesn’t bring my daughter back.”
Johnson has thought about her daughter every day and said the first anniversary of the accident was difficult to endure.
Steinberg offered no comment when asked how satisfied he was for his client. Deputy DA Austin Leighty provided none as well.
On Sept. 1, the City of Denver’s transportation and services unveiled a street sign in Rothman’s honor. “Please drive safely – In memory of Katharina Rothman,” reads the sign attached to a light pole on South University Boulevard and Buchtel Street.
During Porter’s arraignment, Judge Erika Englert permitted Porter to reside out of state and agreed to remove the GPS tracking requirement despite the DA’s objections. Porter was ordered to take a daily breathalyzer test but was no longer forced to take random urine analysis tests, per court documents.
Englert also denied a request by 9News for expanded media coverage on Oct. 17 for the Oct. 19 court date.
Initially, on Oct. 19, Porter pleaded not guilty. At that time, he had already met twice privately with the Johnson/Rothman family, apologizing for the accident, according to Johnson.
Rothman’s son occasionally still asks where his mother is.